The Yankees Suck & Nearly Everyone Should Be Fired ASAP

I can’t watch this team anymore. It’s too pathetic. They simply cannot hit and score runs. They hit into more double plays than anyone else. Their fielding sucks. There’s no fire and no passion.

Gone are the days when Derek Jeter enjoyed himself out there on a daily basis and won all the time. Gone is the winning attitude I remember from David Wells, who got pulled from a game where they led by something like 15-1 after he finally gave up a run in the 8th inning or thereabouts, and his response to being pulled was to smash the phone in the dugout because he wanted to finish the game.

What do we get now? Half the lineup hitting below .200 and it’s JUNE. Inning killing strikeouts & shrugs as they lumber back to the dugout going 0-for-4 day after day.

What other team would still have Gardner or Frazier or Odor in the lineup at this point? Why does the lineup change order with every game? Why do players continually suck or go on the injured list every other day?

All this crap began when Boone took over. He should be fired. Now. This minute. Right when you’re reading this sentence. If it were George and not Hal Steinbrenner running the team, he would have been canned after this disaster of a weekend sweep by the Tigers, one of the worst teams in the league (the Yankees currently challenging them for that title). But instead we get another in the endless series of post-game pressers where Boone discusses how he’ll figure it out at some point. Add a few “Gee, all the data says we should be better than this” moments and you can see what’s going on.

He won’t figure out shit. He sucks as a manager. And the analytics schmucks who keep handing him whatever math they’ve pulled out their asses are also part of the problem, since they’re the ones actually running things. They’re the ones who built a lineup of 21st century Dave Kingmans, who either hit a solo homerun since no one else can get on base, or far more often just strike out.

I’ve said before that the training & conditioning coaches/staff should all be fired due to the incredible frequency of injuries to the team, and that still stands. Add to them the hitting coach.

I’d start by firing manager & coaches and then seeing what happened with the performance of the team. If it kept going like this, I’d go beyond my earlier opinions on getting rid of Sanchez and blow the entire team apart.

The only bright spot has been the pitching. But when you score less than 3 runs in 29 of your first 50 games, that good pitching is going to be wasted in barely holding on to a .500 record, basically where they are right now. The only team in the majors with fewer runs in more games are the Pirates.

Next up are series with Tampa and then Boston. I hope they get swept by both and score next to nothing. I hope they suck bad enough in the next few weeks that Boone & the inept coaching staff are finally booted and things can turn around. If not, there’s no way a team that came within a game of getting into the World Series before being cheated out of it will get that far again for the foreseeable future.

These games are painful to watch. And after a bullshit 60 game season and with covid bullshit finally ending, it’s even more painful to finally get baseball back with live crowds growing and have to watch a Yankee team that’s reminding me of the mid 80s group that always looked good on paper in April but sucked once things got going and wasted any strong performances by their best players like Mattingly then or Gerrit Cole now.

Bah.

Kentucky Derby 2021 Predictions

Seems like we did this last fall, didn’t we? Back on its regular schedule for 2021, and your humble prognosticator has some picks. I hit my exotics last September, so maybe I’ll continue my hot streak.

And as a bonus, I’ll be betting the Pick 6 and Pick 4 sequences culminating with the Derby, and also offer my picks on those races as well. Feel free to bet along with me if you also enjoy losing money.

In the Derby, the current favorite is 14 Essential Quality, whose numbers are somewhat better than the nearest competitors, but this is FAR from a slam-dunk. The horse he nosed out in the Bluegrass a month ago, 17 Highly Motivated, well, will be highly motivated to win this time, and looks to be in somewhat better form from the works. I’d look for those two to be dueling down the stretch, and a strong late closer who might outrun ’em both at that point could be 15 Rock Your World. Any one of those three, I’d figure, is the best bet to win.

Filling out my exotics will be 9 Hot Rod Charlie, sort of a question mark since he ran his best (and most recent) race with a different trainer. Doug O’Neil has won big races & the Derby before, but his record lately isn’t as strong. But I still like the odds of this one finishing third or fourth, and I’d include him in trifectas and supers. I also think 8 Medina Spirit is another horse in this category – not quite fast enough to win, but fast enough to sneak in there at third or fourth. Normally I would have rated 1 Known Agenda higher, but I really think the rail position will screw him. There are a bunch of slower horses in positions 2 through whatever who start faster than he does, and I could easily see him getting boxed out of position for most of the race. Normally he might have made my cut for possible winner, but I can only see him maneuvering out of traffic to possibly only come in third or fourth. So another one for the exotics.

We have a twenty cent Pick 6 sequence of all stakes races leading up to the big race, so here goes:

Race 7: In the Derby City Distaff, the overwhelming favorite is 4 Gamine, and I can’t see a good argument for anyone else. If there’s any reason he gets scratched, I’ll go with 3 Bell’s The One, but I’ll single Gamine here.

Race 8: In the Pat Day Mile, I like the 3 Jackie’s Warrior and the 8 Dream Shake.

Race 9: Also the start of a Pick 4, the American Turf Stakes, and I like the 4 Annex and the 13 Scarlett Sky. The 1 Excellent Timing, intrigues me a bit and I’ll include him on the Pick 4 and not my Pick 6. He’s fast and undefeated (good), but he’s never been at this class level or on turf (iffy).

Race 10: In the Churchill Downs Stakes, I like 9 Whitmore and 4 Flagstaff, along with 3 Basin as my longshot to add to the Pick 4.

Race 11: The Turf Classic gave me the most grief. A lot of horses can win this one, I kept going over it and going over it again and kept coming up with different groups, so I keep wondering if this is a race that’ll kill all my tickets…. but in any case, I think I’ll go with the 5 Domestic Spending and the 7 Smooth Like Strait in my Pick 6 and throw in the 9 Ride A Comet, the 3 Colonel Liam and possibly last fall’s winner of this race, the 6 Digital Age, in the Pick 4. All the horses have very similar numbers. The 5 and 7 are slightly better and came in 1 and 2 by a neck at Del Mar, so here’s looking at a rematch, I guess. But this one might need some editing.

I might edit the tickets Saturday… the pick 4 looks a little fat and the pick 6 a little thin, but whatever.

Your mileage may vary.

No, I Really Don’t Care

No predictions. Won’t be watching. Did not see ANY of the nominees. None. Zero. Zilch.

I may in the future, but a lot of ’em sound pretty yawn-worthy.

It’s an asterisk year.

Okay, one prediction: the awards will be given out largely on the basis on politics more than any other previous year.

Another reason not to bother.

A Brief Nature Walk

I took a break from overdosing on college basketball & watching my bracket go POOF today with a walk to a nearby ‘hood with a duck pond.

Signs everywhere implore people not to feed the little bastards, but as soon as I knelt down to take the above pic, this trio waddled towards me rather aggressively since I’d clearly given them the “Big scary monkey is about to give us free food” body language. Everyone must feed them since they’re so damn cute! This made me wonder about all the non-cute animals people don’t feed – spiders, wolverines, possums…. or the coyotes wandering my neighborhood (unless they leave their pets outside, I guess).

I had no food, so that big brown one on the left took it upon himself to try eating my hand. He gave up after two pecks. I guess I don’t taste good. I didn’t try to pat him.

They don’t want affection. They just want a handout, those cold unfeeling duck whores. No wonder Scrooge McDuck never got married.

Along with the assorted varieties of ducks, there are also Canadian Geese who also have absolutely no fear of people. This big ol’ dude didn’t care how close I got to snap his picture. At least he didn’t immediately switch into food-begging mode like those panhandling ducks.

Biggest cat toy ever, I thought.

But Canadian Geese have a nasty disposition. I’ve seen them attack each other, attack other birds or ducks, or even refuse to get out of the way of golfers on fairways. They’re just pricks.

There are also turtle families along the pond.

They go in and out of the water all day, alternately sunning themselves to warm up, and then back in the water to chase whatever fish the pond is stocked with. They sit so still in the sun you’d think they were decorative sculptures.

Turtles don’t turn up much in art either. While painters in history have loved to capture the look and texture of birds, ducks, waterfowl of all sorts (never mind all sorts of other animals), you won’t find a lot of turtles or tortoises in nature paintings.

But you’ll find ducks, especially in the works of Alexander Koester, a German naturalist artist of the turn of the last century who painted ducks nearly as much as Louis Wain painted cats. Koester had a nice quasi-impressionist style, and painted a ton of groups-of-ducks-on-water works. They must have been popular.

This one is typical – “Ducks At Lakeshore”

I bet none of them tried to bite Alexander.

I’m using ground turkey in my pasta sauce tonight, now that I’m home and settled in to watch more basketball, as well as “The Shadow of the Cat” on tonight’s Svengoolie.

Maybe the duck knew that. Maybe he was buds with the turkey. Maybe it was personal. Hmmm….

Friday Art: The Demoness of Urgency by Friedrich Schroder-Sonnenstern (1958)

Schroder-Sonnenstern is one of the better examples of the “art brut” style, dubbed “outsider art” by Jean Dubuffet as sort of a catch-all term for the sorts of wild amateur art that would often come out of mental asylums.

His works often depict strange figures combining human and animal form, painted in a bizarre almost cartoony style that reminds me a lot of the cartoon art of Ralph Steadman or Arnold Roth. The dude had a rough life, bouncing along from the army to the circus to prison to labor camps to alcoholism.

I like this one, with its pointy demonic shapes from the nose & tongue as well as the legs and that happenin’ cone hair-do. The propeller and sail are a nice touch too. And she’s literally hell on wheels.

This guy’s stuff needs to be animated into weird psychadelic cartoon nightmare material.

The Joys Of Nature

For the past couple of weeks, some local coyote has been crapping in my front yard during the late night hours. Today was dump #4, pretty much in the same spot of lawn that the previous leavings have been. This is how coyotes often mark central core territory, so I guess my house must be the hub of all local coyote activity while I’m sleeping the night away.

This explains all the packages from Acme left at my door.

I’ve got the only lawn in the immediate area comprised of thick and bushy St. Augustine grass – I have a feeling that this coyote must prefer it the way a lot of us prefer a particular brand of toilet paper.

I don’t walk around on my front lawn all that much so this isn’t a big deal, just an annoyance. I’d been cleaning it up each time but now I’ll see what happens if I leave it out there until garbage pick up day when I can shovel it into the bin.

Hopefully it won’t lead to a contest between a bunch of the damn things crapping all over my lawn to claim the territory. At that point, they ought to be helping me pay my mortgage.

Baseball Card of the Day: 1975 Topps Boog Powell

Boog looks like I feel now that I know that baseball is nearly back.

And a nice piece of big sports normal today – the Texas Rangers announced their stadium will be at 100% fan capacity on opening day, April 5. Hopefully other teams will follow.

Enough of this shit.

John Wesley “Boog” Powell played first base and outfield mostly for the great Oriole teams of the late 60s and 70s. He won the MVP in 1970, the year the Orioles won the Series. I remember him as one of those huge lumbering hulk type guys who’d bash the crap out of the ball and stand there like a sequoia for guys trying to slide.

Back in the day, opening up that first pack of Topps cards not only meant getting that year’s cards of whatever great players I was after… Thurman Munson, Reggie Jackson, Bob Gibson, Nolan Ryan, etc etc… it also meant seeing what the cards would look like that year, design-wise. What did the front look like? What colors were for which team? Did they have insignias? And very, very important…. how many stats were on the back? Would we get complete stats, like in ’72, or would it be just a “last year’s stats” back like in ’71?

Well, 1975 gave us some BITCHIN SEVENTIES PSYCHADELIC COLORS, didn’t it? You had the 2 complimentary color border theme for different teams, along with those neon-bright colors and black shadow in the lettering. The photos were mostly decent. It was jarring in its day, to be honest… a step beyond the funky colors and fonts of the enormous 1972 set, and coming after 2 years of what I still think are some of best designed cards for Topps, the 1973 and 1974 sets.

Better than this year’s design – check this out:

The photo and border are great, I’ll give it that – digital photography is a big improvement over the old school cards, especially for action shots (as much as I missed the badly and obviously posed shots of yesteryear) – but look how small the lettering is and how tough it is to read the player’s name and position. You have to make an effort to find it, and it’s the first thing that should leap out at you. They’re overshadowed by the team insignia. And now Topps spends the entire year issuing extra cards for so many players that it’s a mess to keep track. I mean, I love Aaron Judge, but I would not want to have to hunt down a new action photo card of him every time he hits a home run. And it seems like that’s how often they come out. Bah.

But back in 1975? A fixed set, with the bonus cards and extras kept simple. Certainly easier to read. But yeah, those colors were a bit much. It’s a fun set to browse through now for all sorts of nostalgia purposes, but it’s still got that acid-trip vibe to it.

Maybe Boog is reacting to the acid trip on that card. He’s looking up in the sky, but he doesn’t see the pop up from the batter….HE SEES THROUGH TIME, MAN!!!!

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